The value of vinyl.

Nielsen released its final review of the music industry for 2014.
Digital downloads and CD sales are shrinking.
Streaming is booming.
And the biggest music comeback of 2014?
Vinyl. LPs.
A groove that needs a needle.
Last year more than 9 million vinyl records were sold in the US.
The best year since 1991 when Nielsen first started measuring them.
Factories are struggling to keep pace.
So what’s the value of vinyl?
That is the brand question, after all.
And it’s typically not what you think.
It’s not the aesthetic quality of sound.
And, in my very simple book, there are only two meta components of value left.
Control and identity.
I’ll go with identity.
Vinyl feels more raw, more real, more personal.
Like how it feels to get a tattoo.
The value is emotional.
It helps the owner feel more connected to the artist.
The great management philosopher Peter Drucker was almost right.
He wrote, “What the business thinks it produces is not of first importance. What the consumer thinks he is buying, what he considers ‘value’ is decisive.”
It’s what the consumer feels she is getting in exchange for her money that is decisive.
Value is a complex and puzzling notion.
Economists can’t agree on a definition because it’s not an objective concept.
Value is multifaceted.
Value is highly contextual.
Value is subjective.
Value is delivered and imagined contentment, happiness, and self-worth.
Value is about desire.
And whoever develops and delivers the best evolving composite of value, for their particular audience, wins.
We’re not rational creatures.
We don’t optimize our choices to survive in the most cost-effective and efficient manner possible.
We buy to blossom.
We select to show that we belong.
We purchase to get a sense of control and meaning.
We decide in order to feel good.
And for millions of people, vinyl helps them do just that.